White Helmets and Hands
SNHR issued a report entitled “White Helmets and Hands” which documented the highlight violations committed by parties of the conflict against the Syrian Civil Defense.
The report emphasized that the use of the Syrian regime of heavy weapons such as tanks and artillery since the summer of 2011, and later aviation and missile warfare weapon since the beginning of 2012, causing a frightening rise in killings and destruction, in addition to the death of hundreds of cases under the rubble because of the delay in debris removal operations, as well as hundreds of other cases of death due to the delay of aiding the injured; all this led to the birth of Civil Defense Organization.
The report pointed out that the civil defense organization founded and started its operation in March / 2013 in the province of Aleppo, and expanded its deployment to include various Syrian provinces. Its work specifically focuses to meet the needs of rapid and direct services following the bombings and what follows it of deaths and injuries and destruction. Hundreds of staff and volunteers have joined the Civil Defense Organization, and are distributed to nearly 119 centers. They provided services to tens of thousands of Syrian citizens without discrimination.
The report said that Syria’s civil defense services, including ambulance operations, rescuing, extinguishing fires, pull people from under the rubble and the evacuation of the wounded, and the work of removing the rubble, and the delivery of water and repair of electrical networks affected as a result of the bombing, in addition to that the civil defense members, particularly women whom follow-up the wounded and aid conditions and primary care for children and pregnant women.
Fadel Abdul Ghani, director of SNHR added:
“Given the eminent services provided by the civil defense, its fate was similar to those medical and media teams which were exposed to violations through the deliberate bombardment, particularly by warplanes of the system and its allies, through the repetition of the policy of dual strike”
The report included stories narrated from a number of civil defense members in Syria and who talked about logistical difficulties related mainly to the big shortage of machinery and equipment, given the exceptional situation in Syria, which require the size of a large and continuous work, as there is a failure to fix the damaged mechanisms and equipment due to lack of spare parts and specialized workshops, in addition to the scarcity of trained staff in the besieged areas such as eastern Al Ghoura, Darayya and Deir Al Zour.
The report reviewed the most documented abuses against the Syrian civil defense such as murder, detention and targeting the civil defense centers or service cars related to them.
According to the report, the number of victims of civil defense is 106 members. 99 of them by the government forces, 3 by Russian forces, and 4 by unidentified groups, while the number of documented cases amounted to arrest members of civil defense is 16 cases, including 6 by extremist Islamic organizations, 5 by armed opposition factions, and 5 by unidentified groups.
The report reviewed the outcome of the attacks on the Syrian civil defense centers, which amounted to be 66 incidents; 62 of them by the government forces, 3 by Russian forces, and one incident by unidentified groups.
The report stated that according to the international humanitarian law the indiscriminate attacks or deliberate or others proportionate, are considered as illegal, and the government and Russian forces on the headquarters of the defense mechanisms of civil society is an obvious ignorance of the minimum standards of international humanitarian law and considered to be war crimes.
Also the report emphasized that the bombing incidents contained in the report have targeted unarmed individuals and, consequently, the government and Russian forces had violated the provisions of International Human Rights Law which protects the right to live. In addition to it committed non-international armed conflict and considered as a war crime, which has all within aspects.
The report stressed that the arbitrary arrests and kidnapping carried out by extremist Islamic organizations, and some of the armed opposition groups are considered a clear violation of international human rights law.
The report recommended from the military and political Syrian Opposition the need to provide all forms of support and facilities for possible Syrian civil defense teams, and the development of cooperation and coordination with all levels.
The report also recommended to binding resolution to criminalize targeting civil defense teams and all the relief crews and medical in Syria; the follow-up implementation to be similar to the previous resolutions such as 2139, 2,455 and others.
Also there must be a pressure on the Syrian regime’s supported countries to stop supplying it with arms and military experts after its proven involvement in crimes against humanity and war crimes. It also must pass a resolution to condemn the sides that supply it with weapons.
The report also called upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a report to the Human Rights Council Rights and other United Nations bodies about those violations against civil defense and the all relief organizations.
The report calls for the need for action at the national and regional level to build coalitions in support of the Syrian people, and this is reflected in the protection of the daily operations of murder and lift the siege, and to increase the level provided relief support doses. And seek to practice universal jurisdiction over these crimes before national courts in fair trials for all people involved.
The report pointed to the need to resort to Chapter VII and the application of the principle of the responsibility to protect (R2P), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly after it was exhausting political steps through the Arab League agreement, and then Mr. Kofi Annan plan, in light of blocking the Security Council to protect civilians in Syria.